By Tia Norris, August 2018 Issue of Echo Magazine in Phoenix, AZ.
It’s been said that couples who sweat together, stay together. But, from a trainer’s perspective, is that really true?
Through both personal and professional experience, I can definitely say that finding the right fitness partner is almost just as difficult as finding the right romantic partner.
The vetting process for these relationships is complicated and there is a lot that can go wrong. At the same time, if you’ve got a good dynamic and the right practices in place, pursuing a fitness goal with your significant other can be indescribably rewarding.
While I’m certainly not a relationship counselor, I’ve put together my list of pros and cons for working out with your bae.
Pro: Time spent training can become time spent together. Let’s be real, fitness is time-consuming. Whether it’s an hour or two in the gym each day or a long trail run or bike ride on the weekend, spending too much time apart can start to chip away at an otherwise solid relationship. So, if you can share this significant undertaking – the good, the bad, the challenges, and the triumphs together – it can be an unforgettable adventure that only the two of you share.
Suggestion: If your S.O. is interested in fitness, sports or hobbies that differ from yours, ask questions and take interest. This is a huge part of their life and they are committed to it for a reason. Try exploring the activity yourself, or at least have conversations about why it matters to them and if there’s anything you can do to become involved. I’ve seen too many relationships crumble over the inability to connect on fitness – while one partner is training away on something important to them, the other partner begins to harbor resentment for the time being invested elsewhere. Get involved, period! Fitness is hard and having a supportive partner will help the relationship go the distance.
Con: Too much time together can also be a bad thing. It’s healthy to have space, reasonable distance and unique identities away from and outside of each other.
Avoid the pitfall: If you do, in fact, participate in the same fitness program as your partner, be sure to create space otherwise. Fitness enthusiasts tend to make fitness one of the biggest, if not the biggest, part of their lives. But, if you and your S.O. work out together constantly, consider taking up another solo or friend-based activity to achieve that perfect balance.
Pro: Fitness can be another arena in which you learn what your S.O. needs, what happens when they’re vulnerable and how to practice patience (lots and lots and lots of patience).
Suggestion: They’re going to have good days and bad days, just like you. Find out what they do well and not-so-well, and then be the person who can pick up the slack where they fall short. For example, maybe you’re great at nutrition and they’re dedicated to never skipping workouts – combine your strengths to become a complete package. Divide and conquer!
Con: A little friendly competition is sexy, but the cutthroat, ruthless, killer instinct kind of competition just doesn’t work for most people. Instead, focus on finding the fun in your shared experience. And, under no circumstances, should fitness become a serious competition. Take it from me: it will go south eventually, definitely when one of you is in the wrong mood.
Avoid the pitfall: Be secure in your own abilities. This includes being genuinely happy when your partner succeeds – even when they beat you. If you’re throwing temper tantrums when you lose, perhaps that’s something to bring up with your therapist, honey.
Pro: Achieving a sexy body that your sexy partner can do sexy things with. This works vice versa. You know what I mean?
Suggestion: Work hard at your fitness, so that you and your partner can reap the benefits of having acquired all that strength, stamina and flexibility.
Con: I can’t think of single thing. You’re welcome.
Remember, being a fitness partner is a lot like being a life partner. Make the most of your time together but be sure to have a unique identity outside of each other. If you can’t share the same passion, then strike a genuine interest in your partner’s passion (if you want to make it last). Push yourself to be your best, but don’t throw a fit if – or when – your partner does better than you. Instead, celebrate their successes! Oh, and have lots of good sex with your fit, healthy bodies. That’s health advice that I think everyone can get behind, right?